Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Edition Cowboys Up!

December 13, 2009

The  2009 V-8 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Edition may have a Wyoming name but it has an honest to Pete Texas accent.  Like a Texas cowboy, its bigger, stronger, taller and tougher than just about anybody.  And at 14 city, 20 highway, it drinks 91octane faster than J.R. Ewing swigged bourbon at the Cattleman's Club.

This truck isn't for hauling manure. It is a gentleman's truck.  Lavishly  equipped, it runs just over $44,000.   Jock Ewing understood power and would appreciate not only the huge 390 hp. Hemi V-8 under the hood , but also the elegant black leather boardroom of an interior,  taken almost directly from the Chrysler 300 sedan.  Four six-foot oil barons could easily slip inside, and leave their Stetsons on.  

Your reviewer is six foot tall and had to grab the steering wheel with his right hand and a handgrip with his left and physically pull himself up into the seat.  The huge 20 inch chrome-clad wheels add altitude to the attitude.  The lovely co-reviewer is five-seven and needed assistance in making the ascent.  Running boards would be a nice first step.

The memory-adjust leather seats are heated and cooled, and there is every bell and whistle that you have come to expect in a luxury vehicle.  There is a premium sound system, of course, with satellite radio and rear drop-down television screens.  If the young guns have grown tired of the DVD collection, you can beam them Nickelodeon,  Disney Channel or the Cartoon Network to the back seat.  No counting cows on the side of the road for the Southfork kids!

Parking could be problematic for a vehicle this size, but the wide angle backup camera broadcasts a surprisingly bright color image to the navigation screen to alert you of what is otherwise completely out of sight behind you.  In a nod to its original use, there are two very useful and very large lockable tool boxes on each side of the truck bed.  Put your tools in there. Or your Italian shotguns.  Or Orvis fly fishing gear.  Or extra golf clubs maybe. No matter what, its nice place to keep stuff that would tend to bang around in the bed secure in a dedicated compartment.

Driving a large truck gets some getting used to, after driving a Honda.  The riding position is very MARTA bus-like.  It is very easy to look down on other drivers.  And the huge Hemi engine makes theRAM scoot ahead like a little sports car without the higher car insurance rate.  The brakes are oversized as they should be.  Momentum equals mass times velocity.  And roaring down GA 400 you get a lot of Big Mo built up.  So suddenly encountering a need to stop is a scary proposition until you finally assure yourself that this truck will stop before you run up and over the auto in front.

Handling is a pleasant chore in the Laramie. We encountered little body roll for such a tall vehicle.  And the big tires grip reassuringly. In the torrent of rain we had recently, most drivers worried about puddles and flooded streets. No so in the RAM. Noah could have used a truck like this.

While it is responsive at a stoplight, it doesnt feel as comfortable in traffic as it does on the highway. The family drove the truck to a mountainside restaurant for lunch in comfort and in record time. Is the Dodge RAM Laramie a politically correct vehicle?  Heck no. Is it a luxury conveyance that just happens to have all the capability of a large work truck? (Texas expletive inserted here)
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